CMFL: Chamber festival opens with CKYO collaboration

Nathan Cole, violinist and artistic director of the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, practiced Tuesday afternoon at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion. © Herald-Leader staff photo by Rich Copley.

The 2012 Chamber Music Festival of Lexington opens tonight (Aug. 29, 2012) with a reunion of sorts: artistic director Nathan Cole and the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, which Cole played in for several years.

In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader last year, Lexington native and nationally revered jazz violinist Zach Brock recalled his days in CKYO joking fondly, “and then there was this guy, Nathan Cole, kicking everyone’s butt.”

It was a sign of things to come, as Cole went on to a career with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and now the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he is the associate concertmaster. But, in running his own festival, Cole says he has always wanted to reconnect with the youth orchestra.

“We haven’t been a teaching festival,” Cole said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “That brings a whole other layer of complexity and would probably require expanding the festival to two weeks. We haven’t wanted to do it unless we could do it well — have students here, really, full time.

“So this was a great way to work with the CSO [sic] on a shorter piece, one that’s not tremendously difficult in itself, so that a lot of people could participate and the public could see as well. So it’s a real pleasure for me to work with CS … sorry … CKYO, since I did play in there so many years.”

Years in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra put the CSO acronym a bit closer to the tip of Cole’s tongue. But his affection the CKYO and excitement for working with it are also palpable.

As part of the festival’s traditional master classes, the CMFL string players will work with students from the CKYO Symphony Orchestra. Then they will join them for an 8 p.m. performance of Spring Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons featuring Cole as the violin soloist.

Prior to the performance, Cole will conduct a violin master class and guest artist Andrew Bain will lead a horn class, both at 5 p.m. Pianist Alessio Bax will lead a master class at 6 and the orchestral master class with the festival string players will be at 7.

“Hopefully it will be fun for them to work with us and see us as well,” Cole said.

All events will be at Central Christian Church, 205 East Short Street.

Full disclosure: Rich Copley does have a child in the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, but he is not involved in this performance.

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